Assessing the current state of the console wars that brew in the shadows of Sony and Microsoft and their development of the next generation.
….And the award for “Worst Product Debut” goes too… Sony! Come on Down!
For many of us in the gaming world, February 20, 2013 will live on as one of the most disappointing days in our short history. What was touted about as the biggest thing to happen in electronics this year, ended up being about as thrilling as the monster from Cloverfield. With baited breath we waited and watched the special live streaming website Sony had set up for the event, 3…2…1… Boom, a 2 hour marathon of talking and fluff with the occasional shimmer of gaming glory from developers sprinkled about just enough so you didn’t click a new page, Sony managed to get 20,000,000 people to watch them not debut something. Pretty genius marketing I must say, but more importantly a total let down.
Sony told the world it had something huge, something revolutionary, “something” at least. What that something turned out to be was a Controller, and that controller wasn’t very new at all. If you have ever touched a Playstation paddle in the last 15 years, you know that it hasn’t changed much. Sure some fancy vibration and motion sensors have been added over the years, but in general it’s the same layout and shape as it always has been, and probably will always be. For the PS4, it gets the same slight tweaks to modernize it for the current decade:
- A “Share” Button – because we all need more of that…
- A Touchpad, because the whole idea of using the controller as a controller is dead
- They added a Microphone, so you can now scream obscene things freely – no need for a headset.
So in short, Sony made a cell phone into the shape of a PS paddle and called it an advancement.
The bright spot here was easily the gaming tat will be available at launch. Sony brought in some huge names to showcase their goods on giant projection screens, makers like Bungie, Activision, Square Enix… bringing to the table some breathtaking work. The game demos brought to mind all kinds of things, like where was this when the Ps3 came out, how much will this thing cost, and seriously… what the hell is behind that big black curtain?
For 2 hours we all watched and waited, wanting the curtain to drop and hoping that we could steal a peak of Frankenstein’s monster before the show ended. After all the demos and videos, countless speeches by people we don’t fully understand, a couple looks at a paddle and a motion capturing system (Kinect), the show ended. No console to see here folks, head on home.
We’d been tricked by someone in Sony’s marketing department, and that right there is the problem with the PS4. Sony itself is standing in the way of a potentially great piece of hardware, excelling to it’s fullest.
The Xbox 360 is a lesser machine, but is supported much better than the PS3 is currently. It has a stronger fan base, a larger online community of quality players – who pay to use the Xbox Live Service, much stronger console specific titles, and a better price point.
This leads me to believe 2 things:
1. The PS4 is a better piece of hardware than the Xbox 720
2. That doesn’t really matter in the end.